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The ASBMB’s policy analyst, André Porter, provides an overview of the Senate Labor, Health and Human Services, Education and Related Agencies subcommittee hearing on the National institutes of Health budget request for fiscal 2018.
In late May, the Food and Drug Administration approved a milestone pharmaceutical, pembrolizumab (Keytruda), advancing the field of personalized medicine. This drug targets tumors that express a specific biomarker, rather than the previously used approach of treating by tissue location. This approval underscores the evolving understanding of cancer as a disease characterized by specific genes rather than specific location. This decision marks the first time the FDA has approved a medication for treating cancer aimed at targeting specific genetic components and represents an important first step in the proposed field of personalized medicine, where physicians could perform molecular tests to determine a patient’s best course of treatment.
This week was “tech week” at the White House. President Donald Trump welcomed a group of the nation’s technology leaders to discuss ways to “help unleash technological breakthroughs that will transform our lives.” At this meeting, Trump also said his administration valued technological innovation, saying, “My administration is embracing a new spirit of innovation that will make life better for all Americans.” Despite this rhetoric, Trump’s actions reflect an administration that values quite the opposite. In his fiscal 2018 budget proposal, Trump proposed the deepest cuts to investments in innovation that any administration has ever proposed. Trump has called for massive cuts to climate science, energy research, biomedical research, fossil energy research and advanced manufacturing programs, to name a few. With all of these proposed cuts, it is hard to view this administration as anything other than anti-innovation.
The anti-innovation presidency (Politico)